Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that has effectively taken away your ability to defend yourself against mega corporations in the event that they ever cheat or harm you.
In AT&T v. Concepcion, the Court ruled 5-4 that corporations will now be allowed to deprive consumers and employees of the right to join class-action lawsuits, through the use of employment and consumer contracts that contain forced arbitration clauses.
What does this mean in layman’s terms?
You’ve likely entered into “agreements” with many corporations — maybe without even realizing it. When you bought a cell phone or rented a car. When you opened a bank account, got a credit card or refinanced your mortgage. When you saw a doctor or arranged medical care for a loved one. When you got hired at your job.
You didn’t get to negotiate the terms of these contracts. If you needed that phone or that job, you signed on the dotted line. And unless you’re a contracts attorney, you probably couldn’t make sense of all the legalese.
More and more, these contracts include what are known as binding mandatory arbitration clauses. The word “arbitration” may sound like a good thing: “Hey, let’s sit down and talk this out — nobody wants to go through a lawsuit.”
But in actuality, forced arbitration does not provide the protections of traditional trials, including the ability to gather information from corporate defendants. And the largest arbitration firms are heavily biased in favor of Big Business and against consumers. –Public Citizen
Because of the Supreme Court decision, consumers and employees who do business with mega corporations can lose their rights to take these companies to trial to seek justice, through class action lawsuits, for wrongdoings like fraud and discrimination. Without class action lawsuits, it’s just not worth it for most individuals to sue mega corporations. So corporations can now defraud people like you and me out of a little money here and there (which can translate to millions in profits for them!) and not worry about it…there’s nothing the little guy can do to seek justice, because he can’t join with other little guys in a class action lawsuit that can actually make a difference against the wealth and power of mega corporations.
This is unacceptable. Forced arbitration clauses need to be banned to protect the American consumer and the American worker. Please support the efforts of Senator Al Franken, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative Hank Johnson to reintroduce the Arbitration Fairness Act in Congress, and reclaim our rights to fight back against corporate injustice.